Oxford Uni researchers say their vaccine could be ready in 4 months

Prof David M. Salisbury
Prof David M. Salisbury

The researcher Adrian Hill, from Oxford University, has said that the vaccine against COVID-19 currently being developed by the Jenner Institute could be ready in October, based on the advances that are being seen in clinical trials. “If everything goes well, we will have the results of clinical trials in August / September.

Given that we are manufacturing in parallel, we will be ready to deliver from October, if everything goes well we will be ready to deliver from October,” he said during the ‘webinar’ conference on COVID-19 held by the Spanish Society of Rheumatology (SER).

Hill has also released data on the vaccine they are developing. It is based on live viruses (in this case, the adenovirus) with a very high replication capacity, which facilitates its production on a large scale, achieving a large number of doses in less time and at a higher cost.

“This vaccine has shown very good results in trials with chimpanzees and has already moved on to the next phase of human trials. One of its advantages at the start was to demonstrate in previous trials that similar inoculations, including one last year against a previous coronavirus, were harmless to humans,” he said.

It is not yet known how long the vaccine being developed at Oxford University would protect for; but, by the type of vaccine, everything seems to indicate that it would be annual, that is, that it would have a seasonality like that of the flu.

Although it ranks first in the world race, this is not the only vaccine that is being developed. Other research teams in different parts of the world have also started their own clinical trials.

At the meeting organized by SER, the Spanish virologists Luis Enjuanes and Mariano Esteban have also reported on two of the initiatives that are currently taking place in Spain to achieve a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.

“Our vaccine is a highly reduced variant of the one used against smallpox. We use a poxvirus that expresses the SARS-2 protein S, responsible for the pathogen’s entry into human cells. We have already started animal testing, by which, if all goes well, at the end of the year we could start testing it in humans, “Esteban said.

The experts who took part in the meeting organised by the SER agreed that, at this time, it is a priority to get a vaccine that protects enough to reduce mortality, infections and the need for hospitalisation, but that in the long term they would want to achieve a vaccine capable of producing long-term immunological memory and, therefore, it is highly probable that different vaccines will be available on the market.

The meeting was also attended by David M. Salisbury, from the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House in London, who insisted on the importance of vaccination reaching all countries in the world and regretted that this will not be available in all of them at once, since there are notable differences in structure and resources, especially in many countries in Africa and some parts of Asia and America.

In this sense, he has urged a global effort to find funding that will allow access to vaccines by the neediest countries.